Off to Kansas City in a few hours for singletrack and Fat Tire ale. The bikes have arrived and are assembled thanks to some generous souls out there. Lots of people on the KC end helping to make this happen for us, from airport pickup to tonight's floor space and the handling of our single speeds to someone grabbing campstove fuel for us. The hospitality is overflowing and we really appreciated it. Hopefully we'll meet a few readers and raise frosty glasses of beer. Stay tuned for updates when I return.
Secret Stash //
Tuesday - March 16, 2004
Pete is rolling in to town today, we'll drink beer but probably not have a chance to ride bikes with the short stay and the current weather conditions (rain/snow/sleet). He's an honorary Canuck, living in Canada for the past few years and recently married to a Canadian. He lives on an island called Grand Manan off the coast of Maine that has some of the sweetest views and also has some cool trails including some sketchy cliff-top riding.
You aren't going to find these trails in any guidebook and you aren't going to find user conflicts because, quite frankly, there aren't many users. There are a good bit of ATV users on a lot of the doubletrack. The evidence is there, but I never saw any when I've ridden. There's some nice singletrack that's rooty as can be and tends to be damp from the island environment, making the trail doubly hard. A lot of these roots remind me of shots I've seen of the North Shore. Other parts, like the picture above, evoke memories of Hawaii with lush green colors and rocky cliffs.
Pete might be the only MTB rider on these trails. Although a couple of guys he's met claim to ride, he's yet to ever see them on a bicycle. Don't expect to see this little gem overrun anytime soon. The only way to get to it is by boat, a 90 minute ferry ride from a remote little town on the mainland.
Three strikes, you're out //
Monday - March 15, 2004
With the 1x1 in route to KC for the Singletrack Summit and the local trails finally dried out, I needed a steed outfitted for dirt action for the weekend. Friday night saw me trying to obtain some spokes for the ENO wheel build so I could whip the Ibis Mojo into single speed shape. No luck, out of stock.
Early Saturday I got up and started ripping the gears and shifters off to get the bike setup. Two more shops, two more strike outs on the spokes. With daylight burning I decide to cut my loses and throw the Mutanoraptor 44's on the fixed gear and flop the wheel over to a 42 x 21 setup. The 700c wheels make for a bigger gear than your standard 26 inch MTB 2:1, but it works good on the downhills since you can't freewheel. The x-check handles the singletrack very well, but the skinny tires make descents a bit hairy when you are used to railing corners with 2.4 rubber. Climbs that I thought might beat me with the steeper gear proved to be doable. I must be in better shape than I thought exiting the winter, which makes me happy.
So, two days of psycho-cross fixed gear singletrackin' in the sunshine turns out to be quite nice. Hopefully I can track down the right size spokes and get that wheel built so the Ibis can get her turn when I get back from the Midwest.